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Old 08-08-2014, 06:12 AM   #1
CaptainCoJo
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Default What's floating in my mead????

Yesterday I racked off my strawberry mead after stabilizing it and after racking I backsweetened a little. Today I find this weird stuff. Any ideas? ImageUploadedByHome Brew1407478346.982632.jpgImageUploadedByHome Brew1407478361.025441.jpg


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Old 08-08-2014, 09:26 AM   #2
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From Jack Keller's wine blog:


Strawberry wine with pulp cap
I get some great questions on my Facebook page. One came to me from Tiffany Barnes Blickhan on February 2nd with the accompanying photo. She asked, "Can you please tell me what is going on with my strawberry wine?" Naturally, I wanted to know the particulars involved. After several exchanges, the important clues were as follows:

This was started on January 13, and fruit removed on January 20. Racked into secondary on Jan 21. Red Star Montrachet active dry wine yeast.... No pectic enzymes were used.
The fruit fermentation was fine. Strawberry tends to fall apart quickly and a seven-day fermentation is guaranteed to break it down pretty good. Leaving the wine in the primary longer after removing the fruit would have allowed the very fine pulp to form a thin cap which could have been skimmed off before racking. Instead, Tiffany transferred the wine to secondary the next day and the fine pulp with it. The result was the mass of fine pulp that the rising CO 2 pushed to the top.

The ropiness of the pulp at the very top might be caused by yeast clumping with the pulp but more likely involves pectin. It is difficult to say for sure as this is a young wine for ropiness to develop in, but it looks right. If she racks this wine quickly, leaving the pulpy mass behind, the wine should recover fine.

Leaving the mass will reduce the volume. I suggested topping up with water (will dilute the alcohol, color, flavor, body), another suitable wine (if no strawberry is available, then a fruity rosé would work) or fruit juice (strawberry would be preferable). A fruit juice would restart fermentation but shouldn't take too long and would rebuild the wine.

All in all, this is not a serious problem. It looks worse than it really is.

The above analysis of Tiffany's strawberry wine raised the question of how much fermentation pulp contact is enough or too much? That very much depends on the fruit being fermented as well as other factors.

In the case of strawberries, kiwi, certain pears, paw-paws, or aggregate berries like blackberries, raspberries and their cousins -- fruit that yeast will quickly reduce to disintegrating pulp -- one should monitor the condition of the fruit or berries and remove them before they completely fall apart. Usually 5 days is long enough but the table below also applies.

For fruit or berries that tend to hold together more completely during fermentation, there are several factors that influence how long to allow them to remain with the must. These factors should help influence a decision for either short pulp contact or long pulp contact.


Shorter Pulp Contact Longer Pulp Contact

Ripe or over-ripe
Strong color in skin / pulp
High tannin in skin / seeds
Low or marginal acidity
No or low sulfiting
Room temperature fermentation
Short-lived wine with little or no aging

Under-ripe or just becoming ripe
Lighter than expected skin / pulp color
Weak to moderate tannin in skin / seeds
High acidity
Aseptic level of sulfiting
Low temperature fermentation
Long-lived, aged wine

Some fruit or berries can be pressed after being removed from fermentation but many are too fragile when removed to survive pressing -- peaches, nectarines, apricots, figs, quinces, etc. The condition of the pulp as well as the table above should dictate when to remove it.

The table above applies to grapes as well as fruit and other berries. I hope you find it useful.

File Type: jpg StrawberryGrunge.jpg (20.2 KB, 90 views)
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Old 08-09-2014, 06:34 AM   #3
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Oh thank goodness. I thought it was infected somehow. I'll just rack it again and use my funnel with a filter in it. Thanks!


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Old 08-10-2014, 09:07 PM   #4
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The thing that seems to attract us to a specific fruit, is often nostalgic.....

Strawberries ? Wonderful. Yet we forget that mostly, they're fine fresh or as jam/jelly, but generally, they're a PITA, they fall apart easily, they discolour easily, they rot down quickly, they lose aroma quickly, etc etc.

Thus, it's no surprise that to extract colour, flavour and aroma, can be damned hard work and you can get some strange results in the process.......

I'm happy to experiment with any fruit that I get free or cheap, but you have to think why, more often than not, the quality that makes you think of using it, might be why the commercial world doesn't have a massive string of products using it.

Strawberries, melon (any type), etc etc.......

Hell, even honey. Meads was popular until easier materials were worked out i.e. grain and grape. Then it died a natural/commercial death, until nutters like us, with the stubbornness and patience of the amateur got on the bandwagon.

Even now, commercial meads are the tiniest fraction of the commercial booze market........

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Old 08-10-2014, 09:21 PM   #5
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Yep, I was concerned and posted here when I did a beer with mashed kiwi and strawberry, and had a ton of colorless chunks/pulp puree floating at the top, some didn't even look like it was submerged. It looked gross, but I was assured it was fine and it was.

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Old 08-11-2014, 01:19 AM   #6
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Default What's floating in my mead????

So I'm guessing it's pectin? So would using that enzyme from the brew store prevent this from happening?

Also, when you said they lose their aroma quickly does that mean that this mead should be finished young or can I store it for a few years?
Thanks for the help.

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Old 08-11-2014, 02:14 AM   #7
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Not guaranteed that they "will" lose aroma. I was alluding to how they can lose it when fresh i.e. after you've cleaned and hulled them.

But equally, you see people using champagne yeasts regularly, now that does seem to blast a lot of aromatics and VoC's straight out the airlock.

Try the pectolase first. You'll find that it's likely to need double the normal dose. If it's one tsp per gallon of liquid (unfermented), it's usually doubled when used in a fermented batch - alcohol inhibits its action......

Equally you may still find the need to strain or filter. Plus it may drop a lot of sediment........

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Old 08-11-2014, 05:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainCoJo View Post
Oh thank goodness. I thought it was infected somehow. I'll just rack it again and use my funnel with a filter in it. Thanks!


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When you rack, do not use a funnel! You want to rack 'quietly', with no splashing or chance of oxygen pick up. That's why you rack in the first place, to siphon gently, without any splashing or movement of the mead or wine.

Let it sit until the mead is finished, then rack off of the lees as needed. No need to filter or otherwise risk ruining it.

Also, you mentioned stabilizing it- but you can't stabilize the mead until it's done and there are no lees (sediment) present, and the mead is completely clear. Otherwise, it won't work to stabilize the mead. So if you added more sugars, it's fermenting.
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:39 PM   #9
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Default What's floating in my mead????

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
When you rack, do not use a funnel! You want to rack 'quietly', with no splashing or chance of oxygen pick up. That's why you rack in the first place, to siphon gently, without any splashing or movement of the mead or wine.

Let it sit until the mead is finished, then rack off of the lees as needed. No need to filter or otherwise risk ruining it.

Also, you mentioned stabilizing it- but you can't stabilize the mead until it's done and there are no lees (sediment) present, and the mead is completely clear. Otherwise, it won't work to stabilize the mead. So if you added more sugars, it's fermenting.
Thanks I'll make sure not to use a funnel. I guess I shoulda racked it off the sediment and let it clear further and rack again instead of just racking it on top of the stabilizer. There doesn't seem to be any signs of fermentation. I'll check my gravity when I get the chance though.

On another note, I added 1 tablespoon of pectic enzyme to it(double the 1/2 recommended amount before fermentation). I've read that pectolase and pectic enzyme are the same so hopefully no harm done. I'll let it sit and see what happens. It does seem to slowly fall down and make quite a large sediment pile.



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